No passing of time or surging adversity can make the families of Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño and human rights defenders forget that fateful morning of June 26, 2006, when the two university students were forcibly taken by military men and herded like helpless sheep to the darkest depths where evil men perform unimaginable barbaric cruelties.
For some reason, the Court of Appeals ruling dated March 18 was not made public until March 27—in the middle of Holy Week. That made a Lenten interpretation of the decision finding an Army major responsible and the Philippine Army itself accountable for the abduction of activist Jonas Burgos all but inevitable.
Jovito Palparan may be in hiding, but the cases connecting him to a series of abductions and disappearances when he was an Army officer are progressing. The retired major general famously dubbed the “Butcher” by activists has made himself scarce, doubtless with the aid of powerful friends, since late last year when a judge ordered him arrested for the 2006 abduction and disappearance of University of the Philippines students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan.
By Patricia Evangelista
On Dec. 20, 2011, five years after University of the Philippines students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño were abducted from Hagonoy, Bulacan, the Bulacan courts released a warrant for the arrest of retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr. and three other officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. They were charged with two counts of abduction and serious illegal detention. It is the first time in recent history that officers of the AFP are being hunted down for human rights violations.
More than five years after the disappearance of Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan, the Department of Justice, finding probable cause, has approved the filing of kidnapping and illegal detention charges against retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado, M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario and S/Sgt. Edgardo Osorio. Finally, Palparan and his cohorts in the military will be tried in court in connection with the disappearance of two UP students.